The Chronicles of Kid-Keitaro
Chapter - Holiday Special: Valentine's day
Having secretly assembled all the female residents of Hinata Sou in the attic, Kitsune stood in front of them wearing a general's uniform and said. "OK everyone, I'm sure you all know why I called you here."
"Actually, we have no idea why you called us all here." Naru answered. "You just left a note in our rooms telling us to meet you here."
Letting out a sigh Kitsune replied "I thought it would be obvious. Tomorrow is Valentine's day." She reminded them. "We need to talk about making chocolate to give to Kei-kun."
"Why do we have to give that dork anything?" Sarah objected with a huff.
"You don't have to if you don't want to." Kanako smiled sweetly. "Onii-chan wouldn't want your chocolate anyway." She sniffed.
Sarah glared at her "He would be honoured if I gave him some!"
"Onii-chan's standards are higher than anything you could make." Kanako said simply making the blonde fume.
"Ahem." Kitsune said sharply to stop a fight breaking out. "If you don't mind I'd like to continue explaining our battle plan. Now, our first problem is that the only one of us that actually knows how to make chocolate is Shinobu-chan." Kitsune explained as she pointed at the bluenette. "This means that Shinobu-chan will have to teach us how to make it. This leads me to our next problem..." She said as she started to walk back and forth in front of them. "What we're going to do with Kei-kun while we're making the chocolate." She said "It obviously has to be a surprise so we have to keep him out of the way. I can take him to the horse track but I'll need time to make some chocolate as well so one of you will need to keep him distracted once we get back." She explained.
"I can take him shopping with me." Shinobu suggested.
"No, I'm gonna need you to teach me how make the chocolate." Kitsune rejected the idea. "It will have to be one of you guys." She gestured to the culinarily challenged girls.
"I will take him out for ice cream once I have made my chocolate." Motoko volunteered. "It shouldn't take too long to make some."
"Good." Kitsune grinned "Well that's everything sorted out so I declare Operation Valentine officially started!" she cheered.
Attracted by the cheer, Keitaro popped his head through the loft entrance and peered at the collected girls. "What are you guys doing?" he asked.
"Nothing!" they all said in unison.
Valentine's Day at the Horse Track
"You ready to make some big bucks Kei-kun?" Kitsune asked the boy in her arms as they made their way towards the track.
"Yep!" Keitaro grinned at her.
"Good." She kissed his forehead. "Come on; let's get close to the stalls so you can see the horses before they are released." Carrying him down to the stalls Kitsune sat him on the fence and said "See Kei-kun, over there is the start line where all the horses are kept just before the race starts." She explained as she pointed.
"Just like on TV." Keitaro said excitedly "Where's the phone you make the bets with?" he asked as he looked around.
Letting out a laugh Kitsune said "We don't need a phone at the track Kei-kun. You see..." Kitsune paused as she looked around before finding who she was looking for "...that guy over there?" she pointed to a man standing on a stool next to a white board with people crowded around him. "He takes bets from people track side and once we're done we can go up there to collect our winnings." She pointed up to the main betting area.
"When are the races going to start?" he asked.
"Soon." She assured him with a smile. "Look, the horses are being led into stalls." She told him. "Now, what one do you think is going to win?" she asked him with a wide grin.
"mmm..." Keitaro murmured as he examined the horses. "I...think...number... four will win." He considered before nodding sagely.
Giving him a big kiss on the cheek Kitsune picked him up again and said "Let's go see a man about a horse." She grinned as she made her way to the bookie.
Crumpling up the betting slip Toraji Ishida allowed the paper to fall from his hands as his shoulders slumped. For the seventh time in a row the horse he backed hadn't even placed and now he was down to his last 1000 yen. Letting out a sigh Toraji wondered what he was going to tell his wife when he got home. As he turned around and started back he paused as he saw a busty woman joyously throw a young boy into the air only to catch him again and twirl him around while covering his face in kisses, both of them cheering happily at their success. "It looks like someone picked a winner." He smiled grimly at them.
Kitsune smiled at the man "Nope, we've picked seven winners haven't we Kei-kun?" she laughed as she kissed the boy in her arms.
Toraji stared at the pair, his mouth agape and eyes wide. "You...You must have an amazing inside source."
"Not at all." Kitsune disagreed "My little cutie here can guess what horse will win every time just by looking at the horses." Kitsune bragged as she rubbed her cheek against the top of Keitaro's head. "He's my little psychic savant." She said as he giggled happily.
"He can really do that?" Toraji wondered "I don't suppose you could give me a tip could you?"
"Sure!" Keitaro grinned, always willing to be helpful.
"Now, now Kei-kun; not so fast." Kitsune grinned. "First we have to talk about how you will be compensated for your time."
Toraji's face fell "All I have left is 1000 yen." He said as he held up a crumpled banknote.
"Oh, don't worry about that." Kitsune smiled as she patted the man's shoulder. "We'll just take it out of your winnings. Say... 75% for us?"
Toraji frowned "Why so much?"
"Well since Kei-kun is doing all the work he deserves at least 50% and as his manager I need to take a paltry 25% for services rendered. That's only fair isn't it?" she grinned slyly.
The man stared down at the note in his hands. There was a very real chance that he was being scammed, after all the idea of a child being able predict what horse was going to win simply by looking at them was fanciful at best but then again what's another 1000 yen? His wife wouldn't be much happier if he came home with 1000 yen as opposed to nothing so what did he have to lose? "Sure, it's a deal." He agreed to her terms.
"Good." Kitsune grinned as she snatched the note from his hand. "Let's go make some big bucks!"
"Yes! He Did It Again!" a man yelled as he and the men surrounding him cheered happily as their horse came in first again. Watching the men whoop and cheer Kitsune sat back in her chair with a large smile on her face. Once she had recruited Toraji word had gotten out about Keitaro and his abilities and others had sought to get in on the action. Striking a deal with them at the same percentages Kitsune had founded a small betting syndicate and was profiting greatly from it. She didn't even bet her own money anymore; she had one of the men collect the stakes from the members of her little group and note down who gave how much. Then he would give her the money and she and Keitaro would go off and place the bet by themselves so that only they knew which horse to bet upon until the race started. And once their horse passed the finish line Kitsune would collect the winnings and take their 75% before tossing the remainder to her designated accountant to divvy up among the gamblers.
And now as the final race had come to a close Kitsune sipped on the sake that one of the gamblers had so kindly purchased for her and turned to look at the boy who was sitting next to her happily eating ice cream. The gamblers had been serving him ice cream for hours now, presenting it to him as if it was an offering to a holy prophet and Kitsune was fairly certain he had eaten his weight in the frozen treat. "Did you have fun today Kei-kun?" she asked as she stroked his hair.
Grinning up to her as he finished another serving Keitaro nodded his head at her. "Uhuh. It's fun betting on horses. The Oji-sans are having fun too." He said as he gestured to the still celebrating gamblers.
"We'll have to come back again then won't we?" she smiled and kissed his forehead. "I've got to make a quick phone call so stay here OK?" she said as she stroked his cheek.
"Sure Nee-san." He grinned at her.
"Good boy." She affectionately ruffled his hair before standing up and walking some distance away.
Pulling out her mobile Kitsune quickly dialled Hinata Sou's number and waited for someone to answer. ¬Hello, Hinata Sou?¬ came Shinobu's terse voice.
"Hey Shinobu-chan it's me. How's everything going on your end?" Kitsune asked.
¬Not so well.¬ the domestic of Hinata Sou admitted ¬You're going to have to keep Kei-kun away for a while longer.¬
"I can't. The races have finished and we're just about to collect our winnings and head home." She sighed in frustration "How many of you guys have finished making your chocolate?"
¬None.¬ she reported unhappily.
"None!" Kitsune cried. "You've been at it for hours! How haven't you made any chocolate yet?"
¬We've made plenty of chocolate.¬ Shinobu corrected her ¬Just none of it edible. Su-chan keeps putting that special curry powder of hers into the mixture. You know the kind that only she can stand? Kanako-chan and Sarah-chan keep sabotaging each other's attempts so they have to keep starting over from the beginning. Then there's Naru-sempai and Motoko-sempai. Naru-sempai's tastes alright but looks...disturbing.¬ Kitsune could hear the girl shudder down the phone. ¬And Motoko-sempai's... hers is the exact opposite. It looks immaculate but has absolutely no taste to it! I have no idea how she does it! Even when Su spiked her mixture with her curry powder there was no taste to it!¬ Shinobu cried in exacerbation.
"Well what about you and turtle girl? Isn't your chocolate ready yet?" Kitsune asked.
¬I've spent most of my time helping the others. I've only managed to make two batches and the first was ruined by Su and the second by Sarah when she put washing-up liquid in it thinking it was Kanako-chans. As for Mutsumi-sempai she keeps insisting she add watermelon to the mixture. I told her that if she really had to include watermelon she could make watermelon dipped in chocolate but putting it in the mixture itself wouldn't work but she wouldn't listen!¬ Shinobu cried, sounding utterly frazzled. ¬She's sleeping off one of her fainting spells right now so we need you to keep Kei-kun away for a while longer.¬ Shinobu explained.
"But I have to make chocolate as well." Kitsune reminded her.
"Kitsu nee-san, look at this!" Keitaro's voice called out from behind.
"Hang on a second Shinobu-chan." Kitsune said as she turned only to find herself face to face with a horse.
Looking past the long face she saw Keitaro was riding on the animal with a happy grin on his face as he nuzzled into the horses neck "Look what I found! Can we keep him Nee-san?" Keitaro asked excitedly.
Recognising the horse as the one that had won the final race Kitsune stared at the boy and animal for a long moment with an expressionless look on her face before saying to Shinobu "Good news Shinobu-chan, it looks like we won't be home for a while."
¬How long?¬ she asked.
"It depends if he's tried as an adult or a juvenile." Kitsune answered as she watched Keitaro stroke the horse's neck.
¬Huh?¬ Shinobu asked confused.
"Never mind. Look, just give Haruka a call and tell her to expect us soon. She can keep him busy in her shop for a while." Kitsune ordered the girl as she saw a group of angry men striding towards her and Keitaro "I've got to go now and see if I can get Kei-kun off the hook for horse rustling." Kitsune said and hung up before Shinobu could question her further.
"Sorry I got us into trouble Nee-san." Keitaro apologised once again as he rubbed his cheek against hers.
"That's OK Kei-kun." She smiled as she reached back and gently ran her fingers through his scruffy hair. They were walking back from the tram station with Keitaro hanging from her back. "That's not the first horse track I've been banned from and I doubt that it will be the last. Besides, there're plenty more horse tracks we can visit or we can just stay at home and watch it on TV." She assured the boy as she tilted her head to rest against his. In truth she didn't particularly mind. She had made plenty of cash today, more than enough to tide her over for quite a while not to mention the fact she had gotten the contact information of those that were a part of her syndicate meant she could continue earning her 25% so long as Keitaro retained his prophetic ability.
"OK Nee-san." He smiled and kissed her cheek.
"Good boy." She smiled and nuzzled against him.
Arriving at the base of the stone steps that led up to Hinata Sou the pair found Haruka waiting for them. Seeing his aunt Keitaro burst into a wide grin and waved excitedly at her "Hiya Aunty!"
"Hi Kei-kun." She smiled as she reached out and petted his head. "Did you have fun with Kitsune?" she asked.
"Uhuh, and we made lots of money too." He said proudly.
"Good for you, sweetie." She smiled as she pulled him off of Kitsune and embraced him tightly. "Do you mind giving me a hand in the tea shop Kei-kun? I need your culinary expertise." She told him.
"Sure, I'd love to help you." He grinned at her.
"I hope you plan to pay him for his services." Kitsune grinned. "After all he is doing most of the work."
"He'll be paid in hugs and kisses." Haruka assured the fox lady as she squeezed her beloved nephew. "Don't you have somewhere you have to be?" she asked as she narrowed her eyes at Kitsune.
"I suppose so." She smiled as she strode forward and kissed his forehead. "I'll see you later OK sweetie?" she smiled and gently stroked his cheek.
"OK Nee-san." He smiled happily at her.
"Good boy." She smiled and gave him one last kiss before moving up the stairs.
Once Kitsune had disappeared Keitaro asked his aunt "What do you want me to make for you Aunty?"
"Did your dad ever teach you how to make his Valentine's Day chocolate?" she asked him.
"Dad taught me how to make everything." He said proudly.
"Great!" she grinned and kissed his cheek. "I need you to make a big batch of chocolate for me to sell and anything else you think will sell."
"Sure Aunty." He grinned and kissed her cheek.
"Thank you Kei-kun." She smiled and nuzzled into his hair as she carried him into her tea shop.
"Kei-kun!" Yuki cried as she saw Haruka enter with her nephew. Rushing over to him Yuki pulled him from his aunt's arms and tightly squeezed him as her squeals of delight attracted the other waitresses to them. Being passed around by the waitresses Keitaro giggled happily as he was hugged and kissed him. Having made a full circuit of the waitresses Keitaro ended up back in Yuki's arms. As she hugged him into her breasts Yuki snuggled into his soft hair and cheered "Happy Valentine's day Kei-kun." She said as she covered his face in kisses.
Laughing happily as he nuzzled into her chest Keitaro said "Thanks Yuki-Nee."
"We're glad that you came Kei-kun." She told him as she set him on the floor. "We've all got gifts for you." She said as she and all the other waitresses pulled out small packages wrapped in bows. As they piled their gifts into his arms Yuki ran her fingers through his hair and said "We're not that good at making chocolate but we all tried our best and put all our love into it so we hope you like it." She said as they all stood their nervously and awaited his reaction to their gifts.
Struggling to hold onto all the chocolate that they had given him Keitaro grinned at them and said "I'm sure it'll taste great, especially if you made it with love." He smiled sweetly with his head tilted slightly.
Their eyes sparkling at the sweet boy in front of him the waitresses charged forward squealing and glomped the child. Reaching into the tangle of waitresses Haruka pulled out her nephew and held him in his arms. "Now, now girls. Kei-kun's not here to flirt he's here to work. He's gonna be making us some tasty chocolate for us to sell aren't you Kei-kun?" she asked as she kissed his cheek making him laugh happily.
"Kei-kun's gonna make us some treats?" Yuki cried happily as clapped her hands together. "Be sure to make us something really tasty for us OK?"
"It's not for you to eat." Haruka said.
"Aww!" she complained. "Can't Kei-kun make just a little bit for us?" she pleaded.
"No." Haruka said as she lightly hit her head waitress on her head with her fan. "Bad Yuki; Kei-kuns chocolate is customers only. And once he's finished cooking he'll help you all serve so I don't want you all hovering around him, is that clear?"
"Yes Ma'am." The waitresses pouted though they reluctantly nodded their heads.
"Good." Haruka smiled. "Come along now Kei-kun." She said as she carried Keitaro into her kitchen.
"Are you sure this is the right way?" a tall blonde teen asked her friends as they walked away from the tram station.
"It shouldn't be too far away." The shortest one of the trio assured her as she checked her phone for directions "It should just be up the road." She said.
"This tea shop had better be worth it." The blonde sniffed.
"I'm sure it will be Ayaka-chan." The bustiest one said with an easy smile.
"I should hope so for all the trouble we went too to get here." She groused. "What exactly is so great about this place we're going to Natsumi-san?"
"I'm not sure." The red head admitted. "The announcement on the message board is that they've got a special Valentine's day treat for girls and the replies to it have been all been positive."
"You see?" the third smiled "I'm sure it will be fine."
"Whatever you say Chizuru-san." Ayaka sighed. As the trio continued on their way they eventually came upon their destination and saw a long line of girls ranging from high schoolers to collage girls waiting to get in. "And there's a massive line as well." She grumbled.
"We've come this far, we might as well see what all the hype is about." Chizuru said with a smile.
It was half an hour before the trio was actually able to enter the tea shop and much to their surprise they found that rather than couples populating the tea shop the main clientele was young woman and there was scarcely a man to be seen. As they moved to sit at the free booth that their greeter had sent them too they didn't have to wait long for their waitress to appear. Passing out a menu to each of the teenagers the pink haired waitress smiled at them and said "Welcome to Hinata Tea Rooms. My name is Sakura and I will be your waitress today. Would you like a moment look over the menu?" she asked.
"Actually, we had heard that there was a Valentine's day treat for girls and we were wondering what exactly that was?" Natsumi asked.
Grinning widely Sakura said "That is our most popular service today." She told them. Turning away from them Sakura called out "Kei-kun!" After a moments wait, a young boy wearing an apron with the tea rooms logo embossed upon it carrying several smaller menus in his hands hurried over to them with a large grin on his face. Pulling him in front of her Sakura wrapped her arms around him and hugged him from behind "This is Keitaro-kun." She grinned as she affectionately ruffled his hair. "The special Valentine's day service is to have cute little Kei-kun here serve you." She explained happily "Of course, there is an added cost to having him as your server but it's worth it as not only do you have him serving you, you get access to a special menu that you can only get when Kei-kun's your server."
As Natsumi and Chizuru smiled down at the boy and wondered what it was so special about the cute child that justified the extra cost, Ayaka was staring at him for a long time before her eyes sparkled and she declared "We'll take him!"
Her two friends blinked at her "Ayaka-chan, you haven't even asked how much extra it costs." Chizuru scolded her.
"I don't care!" she declared "We'll have little Kei-chan here as a server." She grinned down at him as she affectionately petted his head.
Grinning at her Keitaro stepped forward and bowed to them. "Thank you for your patronage." He said sweetly.
"No Kei-kun." Sakura laughed slightly and lightly biffed him on the head "That's what you say when a customer leaves." She scolded him "Do you remember how we taught you to greet a customer?"
Keitaro thought for a moment before nodding his head with a smile. Turning back to the girls he bowed once more and said "Welcome to Hinata Tea Rooms. May I take your order?" he asked as he held out three menus for them.
"So cuuuuute!" Ayaka cried happily at him.
As Sakura praised him the girls looked over the menus and frowned at the prices "Why are the prices on this menu so much higher?"
"It's because all the items on that menu was lovingly handmade by Kei-kun here from a secret recipe that only he knows." Sakura explained.
"What would you recommend Kei-chan?" Ayaka asked him sweetly with a love struck smile on her face.
Climbing up onto the chair next to her and looked over the menu before pointing at one of the items. "I think that this chocolate parfait is the tastiest." He smiled up at her.
"I'll have one then." She smiled and petted his head.
"Ayaka-chan, that's the most expensive item on the menu." Chizuru warned her.
"I don't mind." She smiled as she petted his head "If Kei-chan recommends it, it must be worth the cost."
"What's this 'Chibi service' at the bottom here and why is it so expensive?" Natsumi asked Sakura.
"For an extra fee Kei-kun will sit with you and keep you company once he gets your order and will even feed it to you if you like." Sakura explained.
As Ayaka drifted off in a daydream of Keitaro feeding her Natsumi frowned at the price of this service. "It seems like an awful high price just to have-" she started only to be cut off by Ayaka as she came out of her fantasy to declare.
"We'll take it." She smiled down at Keitaro.
"Ayaka-san..." Natsumi sighed as she watched her friend fawn over the young boy.
Turning to the girls sitting opposite him Keitaro asked "What would you like Nee-sans?"
Looking over the menu both girls frowned slightly. "I'm not sure if we can afford anything on this menu." Chizuru said.
"If you like I can make a big parfait that you can all share." Keitaro offered.
"That won't be necessary Kei-chan." Ayaka said as she smiled at him "I don't mind paying for you guys."
Chizuru and Natsumi blinked "Are you sure?"
"Of course not." She smiled. "What use is it being the second daughter of the Yukihiro family if I can't treat my friends every so often?"
"OK then." Chizuru smiled "What else would you recommend Kei-kun?"
"Umm..." Keitaro said thoughtfully as he looked the menu up and down. "This chocolate cake is really tasty too." He smiled at them.
"They'll have a slice each if that's alright Kei-chan." Ayaka told him as she affectionately petted his head.
"Very good." Sakura smiled at them. "I'm afraid that I have to ask for payment up front."
"No problem." She replied as she tossed the waitress her credit card, her eyes never leaving the boy sitting next to her.
"Thank you." Sakura smiled as she slipped the card away "Come along now Kei-kun." She said as she held out her hand to him.
"Where's Kei-chan going?" Ayaka frowned.
"He has to go make your parfait and get your cake." Sakura explained. "Don't worry; he'll be back soon enough." Sakura assured her as she led Keitaro way by his hand.
Carrying a large tray Keitaro made his back to the girls table with Sakura following closely to make sure he didn't fall Keitaro smiled at the three middle-schoolers as he presented them with their order. "Here you go Nee-sans." He grinned "Please enjoy." He said as he moved the treats from the tray onto the table in front of them before bowing to him.
Looking down at the slice of cake in front of her Chizuru couldn't help but lick her lips. The cake was a rich brown in colour, the layers within separated by thick seams of chocolate that oozed and mingled with the soft porous sponge. The cake was finished off with chocolate shavings, a swirl of cream and a single strawberry; the whole cake reeking of decadence and self-indulgence. "Oh my, this looks delicious Kei-kun. Don't you think so Natsumi-chan?" she asked her friend who was practically drooling over her slice.
"This parfait looks delicious too Kei-chan." Ayaka said happily. Her own treat was presented to her in a long, slender glass which displayed the contrasting colours of the layers of strawberry ice cream, dark-chocolate pudding, light-chocolate mousse and the whipped cream that topped it; lightly sprinkled with cocoa powder with sliced strawberries placed on top. "Did you really make this Kei-chan?" she asked.
"Uhuh, I made it all by myself." he said proudly.
"Kei-kun is very talented." Sakura praised the boy as she hugged him tightly and kissed the top of his head.
"I'm sure he is." Ayaka smiled at him as she rested her arm on the table and rested her chin in her palm. "Now, I believe I get to spend some time with little Kei-chan here don't I?"
"That's right." Sakura smiled as she petted Keitaro's head. "OK Kei-kun, I'll leave you to perform your special service OK?"
"Yes Saku nee-san." He grinned up at her.
"Good boy." She ruffled his hair before wandering off to serve other customers. Once the waitress had disappeared Keitaro climbed up onto the seat next to Ayaka who pulled him onto her lap. Wrapping her arms around his waist Ayaka joyously rubbed her cheek against the top of his head making the young boy laugh happily.
"Ayaka-chan, you really should eat you parfait before it melts." Chizuru told her friend as she picked up a spoon to eat her cake.
"Would you like me to feed you Nee-san?" Keitaro asked sweetly.
"I would love you too Kei-chan." She smiled happily. Nodding his head Keitaro picked up a spoon and dipped it into the first layer of the parfait and scooped up some of the cream before holding it out to her
"Say ahh, Nee-san." Keitaro ordered her. Doing as she was told Ayaka opened her mouth and allowed Keitaro to slip the spoon inside. Closing her mouth she mmmed in delight at the taste. "Is it good Nee-san?" he asked with big innocent eyes.
"It's delicious Kei-chan." She assured him happily as she picked up a spoon of her own and presented a mouthful to him. "Here, you have some as well." She told him as she slipped it into his mouth.
"Thank you Nee-san." He smiled sweetly at her.
Staring down into his eyes Ayaka blushed slightly and wrapped her arms around him to squeeze him tightly "You're so cute!" she cried and rubbed her cheek against the top of his head.
"Say ahhh, Kei-chan." Ayaka smiled at him as she fed him another spoonful. The two of them had continued feeding each other and had eventually made it to the strawberry ice-cream layer.
As Keitaro closed his lips around the they heard an amused voice say "I hope you're not eating the customers food Kei-kun."
Looking up they saw Haruka smiling down at her nephew. Grinning in return Keitaro said "Ayaka nee-san wanted to share with me Aunty."
"So long as you're not misbehaving." She affectionately ruffled his hair. "Come along, you have other customers waiting." She said as she held out her hand to him.
"OK, I'll see you later Nee-san." He smiled up at Ayaka as he took Haruka's hand and allowed her to pull him from the booth.
"Where are you going?" she asked with a forlorn look on her face. "I thought that we got to have Kei-chan keep us company." She objected.
"I'm afraid that because it is such a popular service you only get five minutes with Kei-kun for every order." Haruka explained.
"Why weren't we told that we only have a limited amount of time?" Ayaka frowned.
"It's right there on the menu." Haruka said as she pointed to the small print at the bottom of Keitaro's menu.
"So who gets Kei-chan now?" she asked.
"I do." A voice said to the side of them. Turning around they saw a tall high school girl with long, flowing black hair that reached down to her waist
Grinning up at her Keitaro said "You want to spend more time with me Riko-Nee?"
"Of course I do Kei-kun." She smiled down at him as she leaned down and picked him up to hug him to her breasts "I love spending time with a cutie like you." She told him as she nuzzled into his hair giving Ayaka a sly look before wandering off back to the table where her two friends greeted Keitaro with a cheer.
"Aren't they seniors from our school?" Natsumi wondered as Ayaka glared in their direction with fire in her eyes as she saw them hugging the young boy.
Turning back to Haruka Ayaka asked "Are you the owner?"
"That's right." Haruka nodded her head as she looked down at the blond.
"Well I would like to place an order." Ayaka declared "I'll buy everything on Kei-chans menu that he has already made along with the Chibi service."
Hearing this Haruka smiled widely "Well, that is going to cost you quite a bit. Can you afford to pay your bill?" she asked.
"Of course I can." She said confidently as she brandished her credit card "This card has no limit and I'm sure it'll be more than capable of covering whatever charges that we incur."
"Why thank you." Haruka said as she snatched the card from her hand with a happy smile. "I'll have the waitresses bring the food over however you will still have to wait the five minutes for the others to finish with Kei-kun."
"Just so long as he is brought straight to us." She ordered.
"Of course." Haruka smiled happily as she wandered off to process the order.
"Here you go Kei-chan." Ayaka grinned as she held the spoon up to his mouth.
Accepting the mouthful presented to him Keitaro smiled up and her and said "Thank you Nee-san. But I should be feeding you." He pointed out.
"Nonsense Kei-kun. After all, we'll need help if we're going to eat all this food." She smiled as she gestured to the crowded table full of desserts as well as the several carts that surrounded their booth.
"OK then." He smiled and nodded his head.
"You're so cute!" she cried again and squeezed him tightly to make him giggle.
"Ahem." An irritated voice came to the side of them. Looking up from the boy Ayaka saw the high school girl and her friends standing above them glaring down at them.
Giving them a cold look Ayaka asked "Can we help you?"
"Yes, you can stop hogging Kei-kun all to yourself and hand him over to us." She demanded.
Ayaka smirked and hugged Keitaro protectively "I don't think so." Gesturing to the treats that cluttered the table she said "As you can see, with what I have brought I have banked a lot of time with Kei-chan here." She said as she rubbed her cheek against his head. "And I plan on using every minute of it."
"That's not fair!" one of the other high school girls complained.
"It's perfectly fair." Ayaka disagreed. "After all I spend perfectly good money in order to play with Kei-chan here."
"Why don't we let Kei-kun decide who he wants to spend time with?" Riko suggested.
"Why should I?" she asked "Kei-chan is rightfully mine." She said smugly.
"Just because you know he's going to choose us instead of you." Riko baited the younger girl.
Narrowing her eyes at her Ayaka said "Fine! I'll prove Kei-chan wants to stay with me." She declared before smiling sweetly at Keitaro. "Kei-chan, would you rather stay here with us pretty young maidens or those old hags over there?"
"Or would you prefer to be with us beautiful Onee-sans?" Riko ask as she flicked her long and luscious hair over her shoulder. "We're a lot nicer than these brats aren't we?"
"um..." Keitaro pondered as he looked between the groups. His usual response when his nee-sans wanted him to choose between them was to choose Kanako; whether it was about who was prettiest or who he loved the most he would simply say Kanako and hug the blushing girl and the girls would go 'ahhhh' and leave it at that. Seeing as that wasn't an option Keitaro called out "Aunty!"
"Is there something wrong Kei-kun?" Haruka asked as she approached the group of girls frowning at them.
"Yes, these girls are trying to steal Kei-chan from us." Ayaka said as she wrapped her arms around the small boy.
"Oh?" Haruka asked as she looked at her watch. "Well it seems like your five minutes are up so he's theirs." Haruka decided which was met with cheers from the high-schoolers who picked him and hugged him.
"But I brought all of this!" Ayaka cried "I should have an unlimited amount of time with Kei-chan."
"If you read the menu carefully it says five minutes per transaction. It doesn't matter how much you buy, as long as you do it all at once all you'll get is five minutes." Haruka smiled.
Ayaka frowned at her "Fine then." She growled out "I would like to place a standing order. Every time their five minutes are up I want Kei-chan." She demanded.
Grinning at her Haruka asked "And what would you like to order?"
"Anything so long I get Kei-chan." She declared.
"Ayaka-chan, this is getting out of hand..." Chizuru cautioned.
"It'll be fine." She dismissed her concerns "So long as I get Kei-chan." She reiterated.
"As you wish." Haruka smiled sweetly as she wandered off happily with a distinctly Kitsune like expression on her face.
"It's Our Turn With Kei-Kun!" Riko yelled at the blonde.
"Kei-chan's Mine!" Ayaka disagreed as she glared at the elder girl. The two were standing toe-to-toe with each other, small spark shooting between their eyes. Riko's friends flanked the raven haired girl while Chizuru and Natsumi slumped down in the booth in the hopes that the other customers that were watching the spectacle wouldn't associate them with the disturbance. All the while they were arguing Keitaro stood next to them, looking between the two girls with a concerned look on his face.
"If you guys keep making such a ruckus I'll throw you all out." Haruka warned as she approached the group. "What's the problem now?"
"It's our turn to have Kei-kun." Riko said.
"I still have three minutes with him!" Ayaka disagreed.
"Enough!" Haruka silenced the pair. "We'll let Kei-kun decide." She declared "Kei-kun who's turn is it?"
As all eyes turned to the young boy, Keitaro looked between all parties before scratching the back of his head and saying "Why don't we all sit together?" he suggested with a laugh.
The two groups simply opened and closed their mouths as they looked down at the boy in silence before Haruka smiled down at her "What a good idea Kei-kun." She grinned down at her little nephew. "This will stop all your arguments won't it girls?"
"But-" they all started at once only for Haruka to raise her hand to silence them.
"You will accept this deal or I'll keep Kei-kun all to myself." She threatened as she picked up the young boy who wrapped his arms around her neck.
"Fine..." they growled as they continued to glare at each other.
"Good." Haruka grinned "And since you both want him you'll both have to pay the charge for the Chibi service."
"That's fine by us." Riko agreed.
"Me too." Ayaka agreed. "Let's see who runs out of money first." She smiled smugly as Chizuru and Natsumi let out a sigh.
An Hour Later
As the three high schoolers rummaged through their purses and bags in search of any loose change they could find Ayaka laughed shrilly at the girls. "Fu Fu Fu, it looks like you girls are all out of money." She smiled happily as she petted the young boy's head who was sitting in the middle of the two groups sipping juice through a straw. "It looks like Kei-kun will be all mine; Fu, Fu, Fu." She laughed again.
Glaring at the blond, Riko snapped "We'll find the money!" before returning to the search.
"Ahem," Haruka cleared her throat. "Kei-kuns time is very valuable and if you can't afford to pay..." she let the threat hang in the air.
Pooling their money together Riko held up their money and asked "Is this enough?"
"Will you guys have enough to get home if I take this?" she asked with a raised eyebrow. Seeing the crestfallen look on their face Haruka continued "I thought not. I'm not going to take your money and leave you stranded here." She told them. "I think you guys have spent enough time and money here for one day."
"OK." They pouted as they nodded their head.
"Say goodbye to them Kei-kun." Haruka told her nephew.
"OK Aunty." He smiled as he put his juice on the table before hugging each of the girls; giving a kiss on the cheek to Riko's friends and one on the lips to Riko herself bringing a blush to their cheeks before standing in front of them and bowed to them "Thank you for your patronage." He said as he smiled sweetly at them.
"Kyaa! So cute!" the trio cried as they stood up and hugged the young boy; squeezing him tightly and rubbing their cheeks against the boy's head making him giggle happily.
"We'll come back and visit you again soon." Riko promised as she kissed his cheek.
"I'd like that Nee-san." Keitaro said happily as he nuzzled into the high schooler's chest. Giving him one last hug and kiss the girls were reluctantly led from the shop by Haruka. Waving them off Keitaro climbed back up onto the chair next to Ayaka and looked up at her to see her frowning. "Is there something wrong Nee-san?" he asked innocently.
"Nothing Kei-chan." She assured him as she pulled him back onto her lap and ran her fingers through his hair.
"OK Nee-san." He smiled at her before noticing something about her. "Ayaka nee-san, you have some chocolate on your face." He informed her. "I'll get it for you." He told her as he leaned up and ran his tongue along her cheek. Blushing deeply at this, Ayaka drifted off into another happy daydream. Seeing the dazed look in her eyes Keitaro looked up at her with concern in his eyes "Are you alright Ayaka-Nee?" he asked.
"She'll be fine, Kei-kun." Chizuru assured him as she took another bite of cake, trying to make a dent in all of the sweets her friend had ordered. "This is truly delicious Kei-kun, did you really make this yourself?" she wondered.
Swelling with pride Keitaro replied "That's right. My dad knew how to make every kind of dessert and he taught me how to make them all." He boasted.
"Well, I'm sure he is very proud of you." She praised him. Keitaro simply smiled in response.
"OK girls, its closing time and Kei-kun's had a long day." Haruka said as she approached the girls.
"Aww." Ayaka pouted as she squeezed the boy possessively "Do we have to go?"
"I'm afraid so." She smiled as she pulled Keitaro away from her. "Kei-kun, Yuki-chan needs a hand washing up so say goodbye to the girls and then go help her please." She told him.
"OK Aunty." He smiled before turning and bowing to them "Thank you for your patronage."
"No problem Kei-chan." Ayaka smiled as she knelt down and wrapped her arms around his small body. "We really enjoyed spending time with you." She smiled as she nuzzled into his hair.
"Me too Nee-san." He grinned at her.
Running her fingers through his hair Ayaka bit her bottom lip and asked "I don't suppose I could have a kiss goodbye could I?"
Keitaro blinked at her before smiling widely at her "Of course you can." He told her as he threw his arms around her neck and pressed his lips to hers.
Her eyes going wide Ayaka squeezed him tightly and enjoyed the kiss. As he pulled his lips away from hers Ayaka held him to her small breasts and nuzzled into his hair as her eyes sparkled happily. "You're so cute Kei-chan!" she cried.
"OK, break it up you two." Haruka smiled down at them.
"Can't we stay like this for a while?" she asked as she rubbed her cheek against the top of his head.
"I'm afraid not. Kei-kun has work to do and I have a shop to close up." She said as she pulled her nephew away from the teenager and sent him on his way. "Go on you, scoot." She smiled as the boy made his way to the back rooms of the tea house.
"You shouldn't work Kei-chan so hard, he's still small and he worked hard today." Ayaka complained, displeased that she had been denied of more time with the young host.
"He'll be fine." Haruka assured her "Besides, he brought in more customers with his cuteness than my waitresses do with their uniforms so I won't do anything to over burden him." She joked with a smile.
Missing the humour completely Ayaka frowned at the elder woman and asked "How do you sleep at night?"
"With Kei-kun snuggling into my breasts and my arms wrapped around him." She replied simply with a smile before walking away.
Still grumbling to herself Ayaka sat down next to her friends. Seeing Sakura clearing the table next to her Ayaka sullenly said "You're so lucky to be able to work with Kei-chan every day."
"Oh no, today was a once off." She explained with a smile. "Haruka-san told us that we needed to keep him distracted as the girls up at the dorm were spending the day making him Valentine's day chocolate."
"Dorm?" Ayaka seized upon the word.
"Yes, Hinata Sou up on the hill." Sakura nodded. "It's an all girls dorm that Kei-kun manages and owns. It's even got its own hot springs and Haruka-san lets us bathe with Kei-kun occasionally." She said with a happy blush colouring her cheeks
"Wait a minute, are you telling me it's not only possible to live under the same roof as Kei-chan but bathe in the hot springs with him?" Ayaka wondered in amazement.
"That's right." she nodded. "Haruka-san and the other tenants often sleep with him as well."
Hearing this Ayaka dissolved into a daydream involving her, Keitaro, the hotsprings and a warm futon while Natsumi and Chizuru shared a look before shaking their heads. Pulling out of her daydream Ayaka called out to Haruka "Hey, old lady!"
Frowning at her Haruka approached the girl and said "Yes?"
"I want a room up at the dorm with Kei-kun!" she declared.
Smiling meanly at her Haruka replied "Very well but I'll need three months rent upfront as a non-refundable deposit."
"Just charge it to the card." She replied flippantly as she happily daydreamed about her new home.
"Ayaka-chan, you should talk to your parents first." Chizuru cautioned her.
"They won't mind." She dismissed her friends warning. "Charge the deposit to the card and bring me Kei-chan!" she demanded.
"As you wish." Haruka grinned as she strode off to make the transaction.
"Ayaka-chan, you shouldn't be so fast and loose with your money." Chizuru scolded her again. "You should at least get your parent's permission before you agree to move into somewhere you haven't even seen."
"As long as Kei-chan is there I don't care what kind of place it is." Ayaka said sternly as Keitaro trotted up to her.
"You wanted to see me Ayaka-Nee?" he wondered with a smile.
"That's right." She grinned as she knelt down to pick him up "I just wanted to say goodbye and to let you know that I'll come by really soon to visit and spend time with you." She promised.
"I'd like that Nee-san." He smiled happily.
"I would too." She agreed as she squeezed him tightly. "Could I have one last kiss before we go?" she asked.
"Of course you can." He grinned as he pressed his lips to hers again.
"Thank you Kei-chan." She smiled blissfully as she nuzzled her nose against his making him giggle. "Goodbye Kei-chan." She said reluctantly as she set him on the floor and accepted her credit card from the boy's aunt.
"Bye bye Nee-san." He waved to her before turning to the other two girls "It was nice to meet you Natsumi-Nee, Chizuru-Nee." He smiled at them.
"It was nice to meet you too Kei-kun." Natsumi smiled as she and Chizuru affectionately petted his head making him grin happily at the attention.
As Keitaro waved the girls off Haruka picked up her little nephew and lovingly kissed his cheek. Happily wrapping his arms around her neck Keitaro asked "Did we make a lot of money today Aunty?"
"That's right." She returned his smile "And it's all thanks to my cute little nephew." She praised him with another kiss "In fact, we made so much money that I could retire and spend all my time with you." She told him.
"Yay, do that! Do that!" he cheered.
"But then Yuki-chan, Sakura-chan and the other waitresses will be unemployed and would have to find new jobs and you wouldn't see them anymore." She pointed out.
"Oh yeah..." he murmured as his face fell. Thinking for a moment an idea occurred to the boy "They could come work up at Hinata Sou then." He suggested.
"And do all the chores you're meant to do?" she asked with a raised eyebrow. "I don't think so Kei-kun. No, we'll keep the tea shop open and I'll just have to spend the evenings with you." She smiled and kissed him again.
"OK then Aunty." He smiled and nuzzled into her neck "Let's go up to the Hinata and have a bath together." he suggested.
"Not so fast Kei-kun." Haruka said as she walked over to a booth in the corner of the shop that was filled with boxes of chocolate. Since Keitaro had started to work for his aunt customers had been buying chocolate to give to the young host and along with the leftover treats that Ayaka and her party had been unable to get around to eating had created a mountain of chocolate in the booth. "What are we going to do with all this chocolate hmmm? All of those customers put their feelings into the chocolate when they gave it to you so we can't just throw them away can we?" she said as she sat him down in the booth.
"No Aunty." He agreed as he stared at the mountain of chocolate with trepidation.
"Here." She said as she handed him her own gift. "Happy Valentine's day Kei-kun." She smiled and kissed his forehead.
"Happy Valentine's day Aunty." He replied as he opened her box first.
Back at Hinata Sou
"There." Shinobu sighed as she finished tying the bow around her gift. Wiping chocolate from her cheek the young domestic took a sip of her drink as she sat down on a chair at the kitchen table. It had been a long day for the young cook and it was not something she wanted to endure again anytime soon.
When Kitsune had returned from her day out with Keitaro not much had changed since she had called to check on their process. The young chef was as frazzled as she had sounded over the phone and when Kitsune had arrived things had gotten no better. Shinobu was utterly astounded that she had to explain why chocolate liqueur wouldn't be an appropriate Valentine's day gift for a child of eight but that didn't stop the fox lady from upending half a bottle of sake into the mixture. When Shinobu had found out she forced the woman to start over and wouldn't hear any objections. She had continued this way until the explosion...
Covered in chocolate, seeing the state of her kitchen was the final straw for the bluenette and had banished them all to the hot springs to get cleaned up. Once they were gone Shinobu quickly cleaned herself up and set about preparing her own chocolate and forbade any of the girls entering until hers were finished.
Only once hers were safely put away to cool did she allow the others to come near her kitchen and even then only one at a time with the warning that this was the last time she would be helping them regardless of how the chocolate turned out. After that all the girls behaved and did as they were told. Under Shinobu's watchful eye all the girls finally finished making their chocolate and even then she couldn't dissuade Su from adding her spices nor could she add taste to Motoko's batch or make Naru's look presentable. True to her word this was the last batch Shinobu was willing to help with and even when Naru and Motoko begged her for help she refused and told them that may try again if they wished but not under her supervision and certainly not in her kitchen.
Finally, now that the sun had set and the day had ended the girls were wrapping up their gifts for their manager and Shinobu was grateful that Valentine's day came only once a year. Looking around at the other girls at the table Shinobu saw that they were just finishing the wrapping and that they were all behaving, even though it meant Motoko keeping a tight rein on Su and Sarah and Kanako had to be positioned at opposite ends of the table.
Hearing the front door open and close, Shinobu heard Haruka call out to the residents. Standing up Shinobu picked up her chocolate and said to the others "It sounds like Kei-kun is back. Let's go and give him his gifts." Giving the bluenette a nod all the girls stood up and made their way out to the living room.
Seeing Haruka standing in the middle of the room with Keitaro on her back with his eyes closed Kitsune asked "Kei-kuns asleep already?"
"He's had a long day." Haruka said by way of an explanation as she slipped the boy off her back to lay him on the sofa. "Plus he's overdosed on chocolate." She added as she gestured for them to come closer.
Quietly moving closer as to not wake the boy the girls saw that he had chocolate smeared around his mouth and his stomach was swollen to the point where it was escaping from under his shirt. Looking up at Haruka Kitsune asked "How much chocolate has he eaten?"
"Quite a lot." Haruka admitted "Just about every customer gave him a gift and he did very well to eat them all." She smiled as she petted his head making him groan lightly.
"Ohhh, I wanted Kei-kun to try my chocolate!" Su complained unhappily from her perch on Motoko's back.
Stepping forward Kanako tilted her head to look at her brother and smiled at the satisfied yet bloated expression on his face. Reaching out to wipe the chocolate from her beloved brother's face when Sarah knocked her out of the way and jumped on top of Keitaro. As the small bond landed on his stomach Keitaro let out a strangled gasp and his eyes bulged. With his mouth open Sarah stuffed her chocolate inside, forcing him to eat.
"What are you doing to him?" Kanako cried.
"I put a lot of effort into making him chocolate so he's gonna eat it!" She declared as she continued to shove her chocolate into his mouth.
"Stop that!" Kanako yelled as she pushed Sarah off of her brother, sending her flying onto the floor. "If Onii-chan is going to have anyone's chocolate it'll be mine!" she declared as she started to slip chocolate into her brother's mouth.
"Su wants to give Kei-kun her chocolate too!" the princess announced as she leapt from Motoko's shoulders next to Kanako and joined the gothic sister in feeding her manager her chocolate. As soon as Su placed one of her chocolates on his tongue Keitaro's eyes went wide and his whole face turned bright red before he ran out of the room panting.
Narrowing her eyes at the tanned blond Shinobu asked "Su-chan, how much curry powder did you put in the mixture?"
"Lots of course!" Su grinned as ate one of her chocolates. "It's too bland otherwise." She asserted as they heard the boy stick his head under a tap.
"Su!" Shinobu cried as she rushed after the manager with all the girls following.
Watching the girls leave Haruka let out a small laugh. "That's what you get for being a womanizer Kei-kun." She smiled before following after them to check on her beloved nephew.
After finding out how much she charged on her credit card in a single afternoon Ayaka's parents felt she was too irresponsible to live by herself and did not allow her to move into Hinata Sou.
Happy Valentine's day everyone I hope you enjoyed Keitaro's short stint as a professional gambler and host as well as the Negima characters cameos (I couldn't think of anyone better than Ayaka Yukihiro to be Keitaro's best customer). Anyway, whether you are alone today or with a loved one I hope you enjoy yourself and that you enjoyed reading this chapter. And now for Keitaro to return the gesture...
Omake Theatre - White Day
"Onii-chan, where are you going?" Kanako asked as she caught him trying to covertly sneak out of Hinata Sou.
Giving her a deer caught in the headlights look for a moment Keitaro scratched the back of his head and chuckled "I'm just going down to visit Aunty." He explained.
"I'll come with you." She said as she moved to slip on her shoes.
"No!" Keitaro cried in a panic. Seeing the look on his sisters face Keitaro laughed again and said "I mean, you should stay up here and make sure Sarah-chan stays out of trouble."
"You're leaving me with her?" she asked as she narrowed her eyes at him.
"It won't be for long." He promised as he affectionately petted her head. "I'll be back soon." He said as he gave her a chaste kiss before hurrying out the door before anyone else caught him.
Watching as her brother left Kanako turned around in a huff only to run into Kitsune. Looking down at the girl Kitsune smiled down at the girl and asked "Where's Kei-kun off to?"
"He said he's going to see Aunty." She explained with a less than pleased look on her face. "He said I have to stay here and look after Sarah-chan." She pouted.
"Is that so?" she pondered thoughtfully as she stroked her chin in contemplation "Kana-chan?"
"Yes, Nee-san?" Kanako replied.
"Go and get Su-chan for me." She grinned as she donned on her generals cap. "I have a little job for her."
Down at Haruka's Tea Shop
"Kei-kun!" Yuki cried as the small boy entered the shop. Before he could return her greeting she had scooped him up in her arms and hugged him tightly to her breasts. "Hiya Kei-kun!" she cheered happily as he nuzzled into his hair.
"Hiya Yuki-nee." Keitaro grinned as he nuzzled into her chest. "Is Aunty around?"
"Mou, so you didn't come down to see me?" she pouted before smiling at him "Your Aunty's at the counter." She told him as she set him on the floor and sent him on his way.
Making his way behind the counter, Keitaro glomped onto his aunt's leg when he found her. "Hi Aunty." He grinned up at her.
Looking down at him Haruka smiled and ruffled his hair "Hello Kei-kun." Picking him up and setting him on the counter Haruka lightly kissed her nephew's cheek. "What can I do for you?"
"I want to ask a favour." He reported happily.
"And what's that?" she asked.
"I want to make everyone upstairs some cookies as a thank you for Valentine's Day." He explained.
"Is that so?" she smiled as she stroked his hair "And will I be getting any cookies?" she wondered.
"Of course you will." He grinned in response.
"Well I don't see why not." She smiled "Use whatever ingredients you want, just make sure I get the first batch OK?"
"I will Aunty." He assured her. "Can you keep the Nee-sans away? I want it to be a surprise."
"Sure, no problem." She nodded. "I don't suppose you could make some for me to sell could you? I have a feeling that there will be a few ladies who would love to have a white day gift from you." She grinned widely.
Back up at Hinata Sou
Standing in front of the assembled girls Kitsune said "Thank you all for coming here."
"You didn't give us much choice." Naru frowned at her "You sent Su after us with the promise of bananas if she could get us all down here in less than a minute."
"Stop fretting the small stuff." Kitsune waved away her complaint. "The important thing is what today is."
"And what is today?" Motoko asked.
"White Day of course!" she exclaimed. "It's March 14 and exactly one month ago we all gave him Valentine's Day chocolate!"
"And you interrupted my studying for this?" Naru asked irritably.
Ignoring Naru's complaints Kitsune pressed on "Not only is it White Day but Kei-kun snuck away to go down to Haruka's tea shop. The only logical explanation is that he is down there trying to surprise us by making us chocolate."
"So why should we spoil the surprise?" Motoko asked.
"Because he's trying to hide things from us!" Kitsune declared. "Kei-kun thinks he can be sneaky without us finding out and as his Nee-sans we can't allow this to happen. Who knows what will happen if we don't set him on the right path? Today he's sneaking around behind our back making chocolate tomorrow he could be hiding dirty magazines in the back of his closet!"
"He's eight." Naru deadpanned.
"All the more reason to make sure he knows he can't hide anything from us!" Kitsune continued her rhetoric undeterred "I suggest we go down there and see what he's making us!"
"Su agrees!" the young princess agreed as she bounced up and down on Motoko's lap. "Su wants to know what Keitaros is making her!"
"Well I prefer to be surprised by Kei-kun's gift." Naru declared as she stood up. "I'm going back to studying." She said as she moved towards the stairs.
"I'll join you." Mutsumi said as she stood up to follow her.
"Don't you want to know what Kei-kun is making you?" Kitsune called out to her drinking buddy.
"Ara, I have faith that whatever Kei-kun gives me will be delicious." Mutsumi gave her an easy smile before ascending the stairs after Naru.
"I'm afraid I must agree with Naru-sempai and Mutsumi-sempai." Motoko said as she slipped Su off of her lap. "I shall resume my training. Please call me when Kei-kun comes back." She said before moving towards the laundry deck.
Kitsune frowned after her. "Well, I didn't expect their help anyway." She mumbled. "Shinobu-chan, you with us?" she asked the bluenette.
"Um..." Shinobu started bashfully. "If Kei-kun wants to surprise us I don't think we should ruin it." She explained.
"mmm, fair enough." Kitsune allowed as she watched Shinobu disappear. "Looks like it's just the four of us." She smiled at Su, Sarah and Kanako.
"Onii-chan said he didn't want us to go with him." Kanako murmured.
Smiling at the girl Kitsune kneeled down and whispered to her "Are you sure you don't want to see what Kei-kun is making you?" she asked "I bet he's making chocolate for everyone; including Sarah-chan." She purred into her ear, her grin widening as she saw the girl stiffen. "Don't you want to make sure he doesn't make something better for her than he makes for you?" she wondered. Leaving the girl to contemplate her words Kitsune turned to the young American "What about you Sarah-chan?"
"As if I care what that dork does!" the blond huffed as she turned up her nose at the prospect.
"Are you sure?" Kitsune wondered. "After you put in so much effort to make Kei-kun his chocolate aren't you curious as to what he's making you? Aren't you curious to find out if he's putting more effort into making Kana-chan's chocolate than yours?" she asked.
With her seditious words planted in their heads the two girls turned to look at each other before narrowing their eyes at each other "I'm coming!" both declared in unison.
Grinning triumphantly Kitsune cried "Let Operation Keitaro Observation begin!"
Back down at the Tea Shop
"How's the chocolate coming Kei-kun?" Yuki asked as she entered the kitchen and found the boy at the stove.
"Good." He grinned over his shoulder as he stopped his stirring "Here, try some." He offered as he lifted the spoon out of the mixture; one hand hovering beneath to catch and drips.
Walking over to him Yuki leaned down and took the spoon into her mouth. "mmm, yummy." She grinned as she wrapped her arms around his waist and kissed his cheek. "Am I going to be getting some?"
"Of course you are Nee-san." He smiled as he tilted his head to rest against hers. "I'm giving chocolate to all my Nee-sans."
"Make sure to give me the biggest piece OK?" she told him with a grin only to cry out when a fan wacked the top of her head.
Turning around Yuki saw Haruka standing in front of her; arms folded across her chest and a less than amused look on her face. "If you've got time to harass my nephew then you've got time to see to my customers." She scolded her waitress.
"Yes Ma'am!" Yuki said quickly, giving Keitaro's head an affectionate rub before scurrying out of the kitchen.
Walking over to her nephew Haruka wrapped her arms around his waist and kissed the top of his head "You know, whenever you come down here the waitresses never get any work done." She told him.
"Sorry Aunty." He apologised.
"It's alright Kei-kun." She smiled and nuzzled into his hair. "I can't really blame them." She told him as she gave him a squeeze. "How's it coming?"
"I'm almost done with the first batch." He reported happily. "I just have to pour it out and let it cool and then I'll be able to make a start on the chocolate for the Nee-sans upstairs." He explained.
"So all of this is for the waitresses?" she asked.
"Uhuh." Keitaro nodded.
"Well, I think you may need to make a lot more than this." She told him.
"Why's that?" he wondered.
"Because of this." She said as she picked him up and carried him over to the serving window. Peering through the portal Keitaro saw that the tea rooms were filled with young women chattering loudly.
"Who are they?" Keitaro wondered.
"You don't remember?" she asked with an amused smile. "All of them are girls that gave you chocolate last month for Valentine's day." She explained. "Word got out that you were down here and that you were making chocolate so they all want their White Day gift." She explained.
As Keitaro surveyed the crowed he saw an angry red aura from the centre of the crowd. As the women parted Keitaro saw two familiar girls were the cause of the aura. "Ayaka-nee and Riko-nee are there too." He observed the two girls glaring at each other.
"That's right." She smiled and petted his head.
Thinking for a moment Keitaro said "I think I better get back to cooking."
"I think that'd be wise Kei-kun." Haruka smiled as she picked him up and returned him to the stove.
Outside the Tea Shop
Hiding in the bushes opposite the building Kitsune peered out through the leaves at the tea shop. "Have you got the plans Sergeant Su?" she asked.
"Right here General!" Su declared as she unfurled a roll of paper.
Looking over the sheet of paper Kitsune mmmed as she stroked her chin. "Let's see... If my intel is correct Kei-kun should be situated right here." She said pointing at the blueprints.
"You mean the kitchen?" Sarah asked.
"That's right Private Sarah." She nodded sagely.
"You mean that room right there?" she asked pointing to a window.
"That's the one." Kitsune nodded.
"So Keitaro is cooking in the kitchen?" she deadpanned "The one that we can see from here? I could have told have told you that." The blond huffed.
Frowning at the girl Kitsune reached out and gave the top of her head a karate chop making the girl cry out. "I won't tolerate any dissent in the ranks." She scolded the troublemaker. "Now, if we try and go through the tea shop Haruka-san will stop us from getting to the kitchen. So any idea about how to find out what Kei-kun's up too?"
"Why don't we peek in the window?" Kanako suggested.
"Very good, Corporal Kanako." Kitsune praised her with a pat on her head.
"How come she's a corporal and I'm a private?" Sarah complained.
"Because she doesn't question her superiors." Kitsune explained as Kanako smirked at her rival; further infuriating the young blond. "Now, here's what we're gonna do. We're going to sneak up to that window and see what Kei-kun is making. Is that clear?" Getting a nod from the trio under her command the four of them crept towards the window. Arriving undetected the four knelt beneath the window. "OK, on the count of three we look. One. Two. Thr-ahhh!" Kitsune cried out as ice cold water splashed down on her. Looking up Kitsune saw Haruka smirking down at them with an empty bucked on the window sill next to her. "What was that for?" she cried.
"Oh, I didn't see you down there Kitsune." Haruka smiled.
"What are you doing!" she yelled.
"I was watering the flowers." Haruka said innocently.
"Who waters the flowers by throwing water out of the window?" Kitsune complained.
"I do." Haruka stated simply. "And what exactly are you lot doing down there mmmm?"
"er, well..." Kitsune started.
"Spying perhaps?" the Aunt suggested.
"Of course not." Kitsune laughed awkwardly. "We were... just admiring your flowers." She finished lamely.
"I'm sure you were." Haruka said doubtfully. "Now, unless you want to get another bucket thrown over you I'd suggest you stop hanging out under my window." She threatened, prompting the four girls to rush off.
Smirking after them Haruka pulled away from the window and turned around to see Keitaro staring at her curiously "What was that Aunty?"
"Nothing you need to worry about Kei-kun." she smiled at him. "Is that first batch finished?"
"Uhuh, I just have to cut it up now." He reported happily.
"OK, I'll portion it for you and you get ready to serve it." She said as she ruffled his hair affectionately.
"OK Ladies, now for the moment you were all waiting for...Here's Kei-kun!" Haruka announced to the crowed of women as she lifted up her nephew and placed him on the counter. Seeing the object of their affection revealed to them, the press of women rushed forward only to be held back by the waitresses. "Alright, calm down everyone; Kei-kun's not going anywhere." Haruka said to them. Once they calmed down Haruka continued "Now, Kei-kun has spent the morning making the most delicious chocolate he can; filled with all his love and affection." She smiled as she hugged her nephew from behind and rested her chin on her shoulder. "And I'm sure you all can understand just how valuable each and every piece is." She grinned as she gestured to Yuki who held up a sign declaring how much it would cost. "All prices are non-negotiable and I'm sure you'll agree it is a paltry sum compared to what you are getting." Haruka grinned as she kissed Keitaro's cheek. "Form an orderly cue to receive your gift." She said cheerfully.
"Is it really alright to be selling these, Aunty?" Keitaro asked as he started to hand out his gifts; accepting an affectionate hair ruffle or hug from the young women.
"Of course it is Kei-kun." Haruka assured her nephew. "We have to cover the cost of the ingredients you used to make the chocolate don't we?" she pointed out.
"I guess so." Keitaro agreed as he gave out another gift.
Things continued in this fashion with Keitaro handing out his chocolate while Yuki took payment and Haruka happily stood behind her nephew as the cash rolled in. She was amazed at the drawing power his cuteness but expected no less from her beloved nephew.
As the cue moved forward eventually two familiar girls arrived before him. "Riko-nee! Ayaka-nee!" he cheered as his eyes lit up.
"Kei-kun!" Ayaka cheered as she enveloped him in a hug. "You remember me!" she cried happily.
"Of course I do!" he replied happily as he nuzzled into her chest only to be quickly snatched away by the taller girl.
"You remembered me first didn't you Kei-kun?" the raven haired girl asked as she smothered him in her breasts.
"What are you doing to my Kei-kun!" Ayaka yelled at her.
"I'm simply greeting my Kei-kun." Riko smirked in response as she squeezed Keitaro tightly to her chest.
"Actually, he's my Kei-kun." Haruka said pointedly as she took him back from the teenagers. "And it costs extra to hug Kei-kun." She told them. "Now, do you two want a White day gift from Kei-kun or not?" she asked.
"Yes..." the girls pouted sullenly.
"Good." Haruka said as she deposited her nephew onto the counter. "Kei-kun, give them their gifts." She told her nephew.
"Um, Aunty..." Keitaro murmured.
"Yes Kei-kun?" Haruka asked as she looked to her nephew and saw that he was holding a single package.
"We've only got one left." He explained.
"It's Mine!" both girls yelled as they lunged for the chocolate only to get into each other's way. Just as their fingers brushed against the chocolate he was holding Haruka grabbed the package out of his hands and out of their reach.
"Behave you two." Haruka scolded them as she wacked them on the head with you two. "Kei-kun has some more chocolate cooling off. Just be patient and he'll go get some more."
"awwww." Both girls pouted.
"Don't worry, I'm make you both something extra special." Keitaro promised.
"OK then." They allowed.
"Off you go Kei-kun." Haruka smiled as she dropped him onto the floor and pushed him towards the kitchen. "Now, while Kei-kun's finishing off the chocolate would the two of you be interested purchasing one of these limited edition Keitaro-plushies or how about one of these photos of Kei-kun in a Yukata?" Haruka suggested with a grin.
Back Up at Hinata Sou
Rubbing a towel over her wet head Kitsune said "OK, so the direct approach didn't work but I think I know where we went wrong." She said as she turned to the three girls on the sofa.
"And what's that?" Sarah wondered.
"We didn't factor Kei-kun recruiting Haruka into our plans but this small set back is nothing." She declared. "We just have to change our tactics."
"So what are we going to do now?" Kanako asked.
"We'll take the indirect route." She grinned "Su-chan? Is it ready yet?"
"Yep!" Su grinned "Presenting the Tama Infiltrator Mrk.1!" she said as she pulled out Mutsumi's turtle with a flourish. As the turtle waved a greeting to the assembled girls they saw that the turtle was wearing a small headset and a camera fixed to her shell.
"With this we'll be able to spy on Kei-kun without Haruka ever finding out!" Kitsune cheered.
"How are we meant to see what's going on?" Sarah asked.
"I can make it transmit the video straight to the TV." Su grinned.
Taking the turtle from her Kitsune looked at the pet and said "OK Agent Tama; do you understand your mission?"
"Myu." The turtle nodded.
"Good, now off you go." Kitsune ordered the animal. Giving her a salute Tama flapped her fins and glided out the front door. "Now all we have to do is sit back and watch." Kitsune grinned as she sat down on the sofa between the girls.
Wafting down the long stone staircase Tama hovered in mid-air as she waited for the door to be opened. Once it had the turtle flew in and ascended to the rafters. Pressing a button on the headset Tama said "Myu."
"Good work Agent Tama!" came Kitsune's reply. "Now Kei-kun should be in the kitchen so the best way to remain undetected is to land on the floor and crawl to the door." Kitsune explained.
"Myu." The turtle acknowledged and continued on her mission.
"You see, I told you this would work." Kitsune bragged as she leaned back and sipped a saucer of sake triumphantly.
"She hasn't made it into the kitchen yet." Sarah pointed out.
"All in good time Sarah-chan." Kitsune assured her as she ruffled her hair; making the blond glare at her.
"Given up already?" a voice asked from the stairs. Tilting her head back Kitsune saw Naru and Mutsumi descend the stairs.
"Not at all." Kitsune smiled. "I'm just working smart not hard." She explained "What about you two? Couldn't resist finding out what Kei-kun's making you?"
"We just wanted a break." Naru replied. "So what's going on?"
"Our operative is making her way to the kitchen." Kitsune said as she pointed to the TV screen.
"Is Kei-kun back?" another voice asked.
Turning around they saw Motoko enter the room with a towel around her neck. "Not yet but we are about to find out what he's making us." Kitsune said.
Frowning at the screen Motoko asked "What have you attached the camera too?"
"Tama-chan." Su explained, making the swordswoman grimace.
"At least there is some use for that reptile." She sniffed.
"Quiet!" Kitsune silenced her "Tama-chan's about to enter the kitchen!"
Turning their attention to the TV they saw the turtle slowly inching herself into the kitchen. Dodging the footfalls of several waitresses Tama slid forward on her stomach. Just as her head poked around the corner the small turtle heard someone clear their throat above her.
Turning her head up Tama saw Haruka staring down at her; her arms folded across her chest and her eyes narrowed. Myu-ing in fright Tama scrambled to get away only for the aunt to pick her up. Staring down at the camera Haruka said "Didn't I warn you once already Kitsune?" she asked before the camera went dead.
Back up at the dorm the colour had drained from the residents. "Well, me and Mutsumi have to get back to studying." Naru said quickly.
"Huh?"Kitsune looked at her in confusion.
"Good luck with the spying!" Mutsumi called over her shoulder as she and Naru disappeared upstairs.
"Hey wait a minute!" Mutsumi called after them.
"I should return to my training." Motoko said quickly as she retreated away from the scene. "I trust you shall be capable of dealing with Haruka-san."
Left alone with her co-conspirators Kitsune turned to the younger girls and said "Perhaps we should just wait for Kei-kun to come back up." She suggested weakly.
"You nearly done Kei-kun?" Haruka asked from the door to her kitchen.
At the stove Keitaro turned around and grinned at her. "Just a bit more stirring and it'll be perfect." He promised.
"Myu!" Tama agreed from her position above the stove. The little turtle had traded up from his headset to a small chef's hat as she helped the boy stir.
"Hurry up OK?" she smiled at her nephew "The waitresses are getting impatient." She told him.
"OK Aunty." He returned her smile before returning to his chocolate. He had been in the kitchen most of the day and had succeeded in delivering all his White Day gifts to his adoring fans. He'd even made a small cake for both Riko and Ayaka that caused both girls to put aside their differences and glomp the young boy together. After giving both of them a kiss both girls left the boy to his work laden with whatever Keitaro-paraphernalia Haruka could get her hands on.
Lifting up the spoon from the mixture Keitaro brought it to his mouth for a taste. "mmm, just right." He grinned happily as he turned off the stove. Carefully lifting the pot from the stove Keitaro brought it to the counter. Leaving it to cool for a moment Keitaro went over what he had made. There were the individual packages that he had made for the waitresses, the ones he had made for his Nee-sans up stairs, and the special one that he had made for his sister. "What do you think Tama-chan? Is this enough for everyone?" he asked.
Launching herself from her place above the stove Tama floated over to the young boy and came to a stop atop his head. Peering down at the table the little turtle myu-ed happily and nodded her head.
"Good." Keitaro grinned. "Now I just have put the chocolate on the cakes and I'll be all done." He smiled up at the turtle as he grabbed a spatula. Finishing the decoration on the cakes Keitaro smiled as he surveyed his work. "There. All done." He said to himself.
"Myu?" Tama wondered from atop Keitaro's head.
"huh." Keitaro said thoughtfully as he looked at multitude of gifts that were on the counter. "I guess I didn't think of that. I'll just have Aunty help me carry them." He explained to the terrapin.
Moving towards the door to summon his aunt Keitaro was instantly grabbed by Yuki as soon as he passed the threshold "Kei-kuuuuun, we've been waiting forever for our chocolate." The waitress pouted as she rubbed her cheek against the top of his head. "Aren't you done yet?"
Wrapping his arms around her neck Keitaro smiled up at her. "I was just coming to get Aunty so she could help me carry them." He explained.
"There's no need for that Kei-kun." Yuki informed him with a smile "We'll come get them ourselves right girls?" she called out to her fellow waitresses. Getting a cry of agreement from the others, the waitresses moved en masse towards the kitchen only to stop and marvel at all of the things Keitaro had made "Is all this for us Kei-kun?" Yuki wondered.
"Uh-uh," he shook his head. "Some of it's for the Nee-sans upstairs." He explained as he hopped out of her arms and climbed up onto the counter. "Here, this one is for Yuki-nee, this one's for Sakura-nee..." going through each of the waitresses in turn Keitaro handed out the package he had prepared for them and received a hug and kiss from each in return. Once every waitress had been given their gift Keitaro pulled out one of his cakes. "And I made this one for all of you to share." Overwhelmed with the generosity of the small boy the waitresses rushed forward and enveloped him in a mass hug and coved his face in kisses; in some cases leaving behind lip imprints made of chocolate where they had already started to eat Keitaro present.
They eventually released the blushing boy and left him grinning like an idiot on the counter as they divvied up the cake. "As popular as ever I see, Kei-kun." Haruka smiled a she stood next to him.
"Ah, Aunty!" Keitaro grinned. "Here's your gift." He said as he handed her her own present.
"Thank you Kei-kun." Haruka smiled as she wrapped her arms around his waist and cupped his chin so she could kiss him on the lips. "Look at the mess those waitresses have made of you." She smiled as she pulled out a tissue and started to clean his face. "There, all clean." she smiled at him.
"Thank you Aunty." He grinned in response. "Can you help me take the Nee-sans chocolate upstairs?" he requested.
"Of course I can." She smiled before turning back to her waitresses. "OK girls, say goodbye to Kei-kun."
"awwww!" the waitresses complained in chorus. "Does he have to go?"
"He has to deliver the rest of the chocolate." Haruka explained to them.
Still pouting, the waitresses reluctantly agreed to let the young boy go but only after another round of hugs and kisses from them. Once Haruka had finally managed to prise her nephew away from the waitresses she and Keitaro gathered up the gifts for the girls upstairs and left before the waitresses could catch him again.
"In you go Kei-kun." Haruka smiled as she opened the door for him.
Smiling his thanks to her Keitaro took all of two steps into the building before Su barrelled into him; knocking him to the floor and sending the gifts he was holding into the air which Haruka skilfully caught. "Keitaros!" the blond princess cheered. "Where's Su's chocolate?" the princess demanded to know.
Keitaro frowned up at her. "You knew I was making you chocolate?" he said sadly.
"Of course Su did." She grinned down at him "Su knows everything." She told him before leaning down and pressing her lips to his.
"Enough of that Su-chan." Motoko scolded the girl as she grabbed her under the arms and lifted her off of him. "How do you expect Kei-kun to give you anything if you pin him to the ground?"
"You know too Moto-nee?" he asked with a dejected look. "Do all of you know?" he asked.
"Of course we do!" Kitsune laughed as she picked him up. "You can't hide anything from us so don't even try OK?" she told him as she kissed his forehead and pinched his cheek.
"But I wanted it to be a surprise." The boy pouted.
"It will be Kei-kun." Naru assured him. "Haruka-san was able to stop Kitsune from finding out exactly what you were making us."
"Really?" he asked doubtfully.
"Really." She smiled and ruffled his hair.
"Great!" he grinned as he hopped out of Kitsune's arms and moved over to his Aunt to collect the gifts. Handing out a package to each of the girls Keitaro gave each a kiss (With the exception of Sarah who blushed and punched him in the face when he tried too.). Handing over the final package to his sister Keitaro leaned in and pressed his lips against Kanako's "Thank you Onii-chan." She murmured with a blush.
Affectionately petting her head Keitaro took the final item from his aunt. Pulling off the cover Keitaro revealed the fanciest cake any of the girls had ever seen. "This is for everyone." He informed them happily.
As the girls marvelled at the cake he had presented them Keitaro moved to sit next to his sister. "What do you think Kana-chan?" he asked. "It's a special cake that my dad only ever made for my mum on White Day." He explained to her.
"It looks delicious Onii-chan." She told him honestly.
Grinning at her praise Keitaro wrapped his arms around her and gave her a big kiss, making the girl blush even harder. "Open up your gift Kana-chan." He told her.
Doing as she was told Kanako's eyes lit up as she carefully opened the gift. Keitaro had fashioned the chocolate into a facsimile of Kuro especially for her. Smiling happily Kanako threw her arms around his neck and pressed her lips against his.
"Hey!" an angry voice said to the said of them. Breaking the kiss they saw Sarah glaring at them. "How come she gets a fancy one while we get boring plain ones?" she demanded to know.
Keitaro blinked at her "But I made everyone's special." He argued.
Hearing this all the girls tore apart their packaging to see what Keitaro had given them. "Thank you Keitaroooo!" Su cheered happily as she glompped onto the boy. "How'd ya know I wanted chocolate covered bananas?" she wondered as she kissed him.
Before she could get her answer Keitaro was picked up by Mutsumi and brought into a hug. "Chocolate dipped watermelon!" she cheered happily. "You know me so well Kei-kun." She giggled as she gave him a kiss.
"Is this Shippu?" Motoko asked the boy as she held up her gift.
"Uhuh." Keitaro nodded. "I wanted to make you a chocolate sword but I didn't have any boxes big enough." He explained.
Nodding her head Motoko lovingly stroked his hair "You are quite the craftsman Kei-kun." She smiled at him.
"I'll say." Kitsune grinned as she held up her chocolate to reveal that it was in the shape of a foxes face. "I think he's captured my likeness quite well, don't you?" She laughed.
"Is this me Kei-kun?" Naru sweat dropped with a smile as she held up her chocolate that looked like Naru in study mode; complete with braids and thick glasses.
"What did you get Shinomu?" Su asked her friend as she munched on her third banana.
"A chef's hat." The girl revealed happily.
As all the girls showed off their gifts and praised Keitaro's skill they young boy noticed that Sarah was simply staring down at her chocolate with a red face and a vein throbbing in her forehead.
Hopping off of Mutsumi's lap Keitaro moved towards her "What's wrong Sarah-chan?"
"What is this?" she asked through gritted teeth.
"It's a panda bear!" he declared happily, making Kitsune snigger. "Look I even used white chocolate as well." He pointed out.
"Idiot!" she yelled at him as she wacked him in the head and stormed off with her chocolate in hand.
Rubbing the large bump on his head Keitaro look around at his Nee-sans "What did I do wrong?" he wondered mournfully.
As Kitsune struggled to contain her laughter the other girls simply smiled at the fact despite not knowing about Sarah's birthmark he still managed to give her something panda related. Seeing that the girls had no intention of telling him the truth Haruka reached down and pulled Keitaro onto her lap. "Maybe she doesn't like white chocolate." she suggested.
Keitaro considered it for a long moment "I should have asked her beforehand whether she liked it or not." He decided.
"That probably would have been wise." Haruka smiled as she kissed his forehead and hugged him tightly to her chest. "Love you Kei-kun."
"Love you too Aunty." He replied as he nuzzled into her chest."